Topic: Arguing



In this lesson, your tutor will help you go over this topic: ArguingFirst, go over the following vocabulary and expressions with your tutor. Read the word/expression and definition out loud, and your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

Pros and cons arguments for (pro) and against (con)
e.g. We had to discuss all the pros and cons before we bought a house.
Reasoning the process of thinking about something in a logical way in order to form a conclusion or judgment
e.g. the reasoning behind the decision
Devil’s advocate During a discussion or debate, if you play devil’s advocate, you pretend to be against an idea or plan in order to determine the validity of the arguments in favor of it.
e.g. She decided to play devil’s advocate just to see how strongly people felt about the project.
Conform to obey or agree with something
e.g. Employees have to conform to company rules.
Contradict to say the opposite, or to say two statements that do not agree and that cannot both be true
e.g. The witness contradicted herself when she insisted she could identify the thief even though she had said that the night was too foggy to see clearly.
Controversial relating to or causing much discussion, disagreement, or argument
e.g. He is a controversial author because of his political opinions.
Antagonistic showing dislike or opposition
e.g. Many people are antagonistic to the idea of making major changes to the building.
Constructive criticism suggestions that are helpful to someone instead of upsetting and negative
e.g. The teacher offered constructive criticism to improve the short story.
bone to pick If you have a bone to pick with someone, you are annoyed with them and want to talk to them about it.
e.g. Mark wants to see the boss. He says he’s got a bone to pick with her.
pick a fight someone who picks a fight deliberately looks for an opportunity to start a quarrel or begin an argument
e.g. Our new neighbor seizes every occasion to pick a fight.


Use the following questions as a guideline to form an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  1. What do you argue the most about with your family or friends?
  2. What are some things people argue intensely over?
  3. Do you often impose your beliefs on others? Why or why not?
  4. Do you think it’s better to argue or just walk away? Why?
  5. What are some things that you cannot compromise on?
  6. How do you feel when someone disagrees with everything you have to say? What about someone who is the opposite?
  7. Do you think it is disrespectful to argue with elderly? Why or why not?
  8. At work, do you often voice your opinion on controversial issues? Describe your experience.
  9. Occasionally, do you enjoy “playing the devil’s advocate” (debating for the fun of it)?
  10. Dale Carnegie said, “The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.” Do you agree? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!


Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.


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